Rental Management

Essential Property Inspection Checklists for Landlords

August 15, 2023

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Property Inspection Checklist By Season

Whether it’s fall, winter, spring, or summer, a landlord’s obligation to maintain their properties never expires.  

This makes property inspections an essential component of every landlord’s day-to-day and year-to-year responsibilities. 

Having a checklist for your inspections can make them simpler, faster, and more systematic. Checklist inspections help you know exactly what to look for to ensure that your properties are up to code and your tenants aren’t violating any rules that could endanger themselves or other tenants. 

In this article, we provide six landlord checklists for property owners looking to get ahead on inspections this year. 

Why Do Routine Inspections? 

For some landlords, regular inspections may simply seem like a chore to pass off to a property manager or something only to be done when legally required. However, there are a variety of benefits of routinely examining your properties, assessing their condition, and checking in with your tenants. Inspections help you: 

  • Ensure the property meets building, health, and safety codes 
  • Evaluate damage and schedule repairs 
  • Notice and address any lease violations (e.g., unauthorized pets or occupants) 
  • Prepare the property for seasonal changes 
  • Protect the condition of your asset(s) from deteriorating quickly 
  • Meet your tenants’ expectations for the property and increase tenant retention 

What Does A Property Inspection or Rental Checklist Walkthrough Include? 

A property inspection can be as brief as a drive-by inspection or as involved as a meticulous rental checklist walkthrough. They can cover any or all aspects of a property that may need attention from time to time, including: 

  • HVAC systems 
  • Electrical wiring 
  • Hot water heaters 
  • Security systems 
  • Plumbing, water leaks, and water damage 
  • Windows, front doors, and sliding doors 
  • Pest control 
  • Infrastructure 
  • Overall condition of the property 

Of course, every landlord’s property or rental checklist walkthrough will be different. Different properties, locations, and tenants call for different measures to keep systems operational and safe for everyone. Be sure to edit and add to the following checklists as you see fit. 

Landlord Checklist for Fall 

For those in more temperate climates, fall is the season to prepare your rentals for colder temperatures and harsher conditions. For others, it means rain and water damage will soon become major concerns. Here are a few tasks to add to your fall inspection checklist: 

  • Clean leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts  
  • Look for cracked or damaged shingles on the roof 
  • Verify proper ventilation 
  • Watch out for pests looking for warm winter hideouts  
  • Check sills, posts, headers, and other framing supports for wear or damage 
  • Check doors and windows for drafts 
  • Assess foundation and basements for mold, mildew, or drainage problems 
  • Remove trees that could damage the property during storms 
  • Look for and fill cracks in sidewalks and driveways that could collect water and enlarge when frozen 

Landlord Checklist for Winter 

Winter brings freezing temperatures, precipitation, and stress on your property. Minimize damage during the winter with these inspection tasks: 

  • Seal doors and windows 
  • Replace filters on furnaces 
  • Cover any exposed pipes and check for leaks 
  • Check for winter pests 
  • Remove snow and add salt to sidewalks and parking lots (if needed) 
  • Ensure that tenants have not covered vents with furniture 
  • Give your tenants information about preventing frozen pipes, energy saving tips, and instructions for long absences over the holidays 

Landlord Checklist for Spring 

Rising temperatures in the spring lead to melting snow, extra rain, and the potential for water problems with your properties. Here are a few property maintenance items to check off your list during the spring: 

  • Check roof and siding for ice damage from the winter 
  • Inspect the roof for deterioration and snow damage 
  • Clean and unclog gutters  
  • Assess any moisture and water damage from rain and snow 
  • Remove loose branches 
  • Mulch flowerbeds and address curb appeal 
  • Assess landscaping needs 
  • Clean hardwood flooring and treat for any salt/water damage 
  • Examine outdoor faucets for leaks 
  • Check any wood fences, siding, balconies/porches for rot and mold 
  • Be sure AC units are working and replace HVAC filters 

Landlord Checklist for Summer 

Help your tenants and properties keep cool in the summer with the following summer maintenance and inspection tasks: 

  • Have AC units serviced  
  • Repair any cracks in sidewalks or driveways 
  • Wash outside of windows 
  • Install screen doors 
  • Do any exterior cleaning (e.g., power washing) 
  • Repaint/re-stain fencing, decks, porches, and balconies 
  • Start larger repair, renovation, or maintenance projects 

6 Month or Annual Apartment Inspection Checklist

Some landlords opt for 6- and 12- month routine inspections rather than seasonal inspections. If you choose this strategy, you’ll still want to be on the lookout for lease violations, needed repairs, general cleanliness, damages, pests, environmental hazards, anything that could cause a future problem with your property. Be sure to include the following in your 6-month or annual apartment inspection checklist: 

  • Mold, leaks, and water damage 
  • Carpet or floor stains 
  • Broken/missing appliances 
  • Torn blinds 
  • Evidence of smoking (if indoor smoking is prohibited) 
  • Working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors 
  • Fire extinguishers  
  • Pests  
  • Roofing 

Drive-By Inspection Checklist 

For landlords with several properties in different locations, drive-by inspections can be very effective for noticing problems and preventing further damage. Drive-by inspections are when you simply drive by your house/duplex/multifamily property to check that everything looks normal and address any clearly visible problems. In your drive-by inspection, be sure to watch out for: 

  • Visible lease violations  
  • Clear health or safety hazards 
  • Trash or debris 
  • Adherence to porch/deck rules 
  • Clear walkways 
  • Yard/weeds 
  • Proper parking 

Condo Inspection Checklist

If you own a condo, regardless of whether you rent it out, you also need to perform regular inspections of your property. In your condo inspection checklist, be sure to include:

  • Plumbing – Look for potential leaks, proper connections between pipes, water damage, the condition of all sinks, faucets, etc.
  • Infrastructure – Weaknesses or cracks in the ceiling or siding, condition of shared walls, moisture issues
  • HVAC – Change filters regularly
  • Electrical – Outlets, light switches, fireplaces, frayed or exposed wiring, breaker box

Conclusion 

Routine inspections of your properties help you resolve minor problems that could easily grow into larger ones if unchecked. They also help you stay informed on the condition of your assets and how your tenants treat them. By using and adding to any of these checklists, you already have a great start in meeting and managing the annual needs of your properties

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